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Are airfares within Europe as constant and predictable as train fares?

Are airfares within Europe as constant and predictable as train fares?

Old Mar 4th, 2000, 07:52 AM
  #1  
Gigi
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Are airfares within Europe as constant and predictable as train fares?

In lieu of buying Eurail saverpasses for our trip to France and Spain this spring, we're considering combining point to point train travel in France with point to point plane travel in Spain. Either way, we want the flexibility to pick our travel dates and times within those countries when we're there, rather than locking in schedules now.

Looking at prices posted on Travelocity and Raileurope, plane fares are slightly higher than train for the 710 mile trip from Barcelona to Seville, but plane fare is same or less than AVE fare for the 358 mile trip from Seville to Madrid. The airfares for these segments are just about the same regardless of the dates I select, even using tomorrow's date. I'm used to seeing this for train fares in Europe, but I've never flown within Europe and I'm conditioned by the unregulated norm here in the states (low fares disappear when allocated cheap seats are sold). If the air fares are really set, this is great news for flexibility and budgeting purposes. But I want to know if this is true before deciding not to purchase Eurail passes. If the last minute airfare from Barcelona to Seville turns out to be $400 (instead of $96 to $156 now posted), the 12-hour train ride for $105 in 1st Class will look more inviting than it does now and I'd likely regret not having the saver pass for the train ride.

Comments from anyone who has purchased last minute plane tickets in Spain will be appreciated. The airlines listed are Air Europa, Spanair and Iberia.
 
Old Mar 4th, 2000, 08:34 AM
  #2  
Nancy
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I don't have first-hand knowledge to share, but I suggest checking out the Cheap Flight Forum at eurotrip.com--more likely than not, someone there can help. It's a gold mine of air travel information. Good luck!
 
Old Mar 4th, 2000, 10:48 AM
  #3  
Tricia
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I'm Tricia from Cheap flight forum- be sure to post your query in the forum- I'm not real sure if you are safe in waiting or not but I do know that Airthitch told me the Europeans use last minute standby on the lesser known airlines all the time- they KNOW where to find the cheap flights. Also there are Airpasses available that are a SET price. Almost each and every airline in Europe has their own. If you are staying within Spain why not contact Spanair and see if they have airpasses?
 
Old Mar 4th, 2000, 10:49 AM
  #4  
Tricia
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OOPS!!
www.eurotrip.com
click on forums
then cheap flight forum
 
Old Mar 4th, 2000, 01:31 PM
  #5  
Gigi
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Thanks for your suggestions Nancy and Tricia. I just took a quick peek at the cheap flight forum at eurotrip.com and the queries there seem to focus on fares to Europe. But I'll try posting my own query on fares within Spain to see what responses I get. I'll also try to find websites for Spanair and Iberia and look for pass info.
 
Old Mar 4th, 2000, 02:22 PM
  #6  
Rex
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I think that the answer to your broad, general question is NO, just as is true in the US. However, on some routes (also true in the US), low-cost carriers (like Southwest) keep intense competitive pressure on certain routes - - and usually matched by their competitors.

Specifically, I think that Spanair is keeping similar competitive pressure on Iberia for many (but not all) routes in Spain - - and lucky for you, this eems to include Sevilla-Madrid.

As far as I can tell.

Of course, in all travel matters, there are always unpredictable factors, and YOU want to be flexible and unpredictable - - that frequently costs extra!

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Old Mar 4th, 2000, 08:11 PM
  #7  
Gigi
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Rex, thanks for your comments. I see what you mean about head-to-head competition on the Seville-Madrid route. Every flight listed for Iberia shows one fare - $96 versus $82 for all Spanair flights. Quite reasonable. I had assumed that the air fares between those cities are low because of competition from the frequent AVE trains. This must be a popular route to support so many daily trains and flights.

Do you happen to know whether the low-cost carrier Spanair is similar to its US counterpart, Southwest, insofar as having a positive reputation and high level of customer satisfaction?
 

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